Two Kinds Of Survivors

This will likely be another unpopular blogpost. It’s something of an extension of my last disaster.

It occurs to me that there while we’re all individuals, there are really only two types of trauma survivors when all is said and done. There are traumatized people who remember safety, humor, happiness…good stuff. These folks need to put their horridly shattered lives back together but they have an essential framework to draw from.

And then there are those types of traumatized people who never acquired knowledge of essential goodness and safety and joy. The job for these survivors is to start at the beginning. To learn for the first time as adults these self-soothing concepts that are learned in one’s childhood.

It can be war. It can be a trauma that an adult suffers whose mind has been wiped clean. Mostly it’s child victims of extreme abuse.

Of course it’s not that easy I’m sure I will be hearing over and over here, so please read before reacting. But brains develop in the ways that they do. Little brains get stuck and parsed and there she goes.

The job of rebuilding a life that is happy and healthy and free of addictions is a monstrous one. There’s a guilt that goes with the inevitable depression: why can’t I just snap out of it? There’s self-blame and a loss that needs to be grieved for. In some ways it’s more painful to have something ripped away from a person than to never have had it at all. The sense of threat is I believe immense for so many people.

For people who never knew these lifeskill basics, where the world is really an enemy, the tasks are very different. Htpervigilance that’s been going on for decades is a tough nut to crack. It’s possible, yes. I know because I have cracked the shell myself.

These recovery processes are very different beasts. I personally don’t believe they have much in common. One is not “worse” that the other. They’re like apples and pomegranates.

Is one “harder” to recover from than the other? I think it’s obvious that it’s no picnic for either group. It generally takes longer to acquire a happy life for victims of longer-term or CSA. Some of this may be that the medical community doesn’t even agree on how to best treat DID/Borderline.

But the violation of a person who loses a sense of safety is hugely painful.

When it gets down to it, you jus’t can’t really understand the other side’s stuff. They’re two totally different animals.

Before you go launching off on me, please recognize that I do not mean to diminish anybody’s personal anguish. All I am saying is that these are 2 different challenges for creating a new and positive life.

Also, of course each of is carries our pain in the ways that we do. We are like snowflakes. But this broad distinction is valid.



  1. September 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I think you’ve touched on an important distinction, and I agree with your assessment. For those who had even a ~little~ safety, nurturing and appropriate parenting, there is a seed within them, which they can coax into sprouting, and eventually to bloom in their recovery and growth. It’s a long, hard road, and neither you nor I are discounting the tremendous work involved.

    For those of us who did ~not~ get the benefit of even a minimal amount of safety, nurturing and appropriate parenting, we have to search and struggle to find or create the equivalent of that seed, and plant it within our hearts and minds. Then, we hope that the soil into which that seed is planted is fertile enough for it to take root.

    As you pointed out, either process is painful and fraught with peril and challenges we can’t foresee. But they are different processes, with different shading and nuances. Neither is “worse” or “better” than the other. Each journey is deserving of respect and support, and I think you articulated that quite well above. Thanks for sharing your insight.



    • Splinteredones said,

      September 2, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you hon. In the same way that I never knew ” safe” it’s likely just as hard to not get what life is w/no understanding of same. Is what is 😉

  2. September 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I love this post! And I am glad you are thriving 🙂

    • Splinteredones said,

      September 3, 2010 at 6:20 am

      Thank you dear. Sweet. Guess I’m just a pragmatist. 😉

  3. niki said,

    September 3, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Very well put. I agree with you 150%.

    • Splinteredones said,

      September 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks. Nothing’s ever simple and everything is 😉 peace Out v

  4. September 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I agree too! Thank you for putting it out there.

    • September 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      Thank you ;). I figured I was the only person on the planet who saw things this way. Mickie gracias!

  5. I'm DID & so am I said,

    September 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I always felt I did come from a family of humor, happiness and saftey, but little did I know at that time, I was not safe, not happy and what humor there was, was a cover-up.

    Painful is an understatement of what I’ve been through, trying to get my life back in order. For ever step I take forward, I take 20 back.


    • Splinteredones said,

      September 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

      I know it feels like we just go back but I always go thru hell before I have a big ah-hah. Keep faith hon. Better is not easy, it’s a rollercoaster but does have ups. Promise

  6. Susan said,

    September 7, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Great post, Splint; in all regards. You write about my story and every other survivor of what I call in general terms “childhood horrors” – be it “simple” neglect to voracious abuse, when we don’t have that foundation of safety to return to we have to create it ourselves. I’ve got more to say about the ideas you present here but will stop here as I have to move on to things today but… Good post, great insight, awesome share:)

    • Splinteredones said,

      September 7, 2010 at 7:13 am

      Wow hon thanks for the support. In a very soft spot today if I read this again I am gonna cry 😉

  7. Pandora said,

    September 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Wonderfully put. xxx

    (Sorry I’m late to this one – having a major catch-up tonight xxx)

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